Given the promise of the title of Freddys Dead: The Final Nightmare, youre entitled to feel a mite cheated by the existence of this follow-up. It should, by all rights, be called A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 7: We Lied. However, with series creator Craven back at the helm, this is a long way from the formula cheap thrills of the last five sequels. And quite how they contrive to bring back the definitively-dead Freddy is radically original, stretching the concept of sequel in ways hardly the norm for a multiplex movie.
Set in the real world of Hollywood rather than on Cravens mythical Elm Street, the story follows actress Langenkamp playing herself star of the original Elm Street movie a decade ago. Things have become fraught, she is being pestered by a prank caller with Freddys voice, troubled by bad dreams about the fiend and worried sick about the strange behaviour of her son (Miko Hughes). Meanwhile, New Line, the film company which actually made this movie, are wooing her to star in a fresh Freddy film, currently being written by Craven.
The play on fantasy and reality is teasingly clever, featuring both Craven, acting his big scene with a wonderfully surpressed chuckle, and a terrific self-parody from Englund, in the double role of himself and a streamlined, nastier Freddy. This new Nightmare is one of the strongest straight horror films of the decade, and even though the dreamworld finale may be a little familiar, the picture has a genuine creepiness that goes deeper than one-off shocks.